Closure of Daisy Hill ED will put lives at risk: Byrne

April 10, 2017

SDLP Slieve Gullion Councillor Pete Byrne says lives will be put at risk if any threatened closure of Daisy Hill hospital’s emergency department goes ahead.

Councillor Byrne made the comment after he seconded an emergency motion put before Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to oppose any proposal by the Southern Trust to reduce the service.

He says any potential closure will severely impact those living in rural areas of south Armagh: “People in rural areas are already waiting five to six times the acceptable average for an ambulance, to further strip valuable services like the Emergency Department is to put lives at risk.

“It is my belief that the withdrawal of services from Daisy Hill Hospital is not solely down to cuts. To some degree, it is due to the lack of workforce planning within the Trust.  One solution that should be considered is to hire consultants on a Trust-wide basis and not solely to the hospital,” he said.

Councillor Byrne says he and his party colleagues brought their concerns to the Trust officials at a meeting last Tuesday.

“They informed us of on-going talks with other Trusts across the North with the intention of sharing consultants on a regional basis. This is something we strongly welcomed in the short term. However, it is crucial in the long term that proper dialogue is restored between the Trust and the Department of Health,” he said.

“As political representatives, we must recognise the duty we have to ensure the institutions are restored and departments are back up and running to ensure services like those at Daisy Hill are secured.  Year on year, the number of patients attending Daisy Hill Emergency Department is on the increase. The service is struggling on with the use of locum staff and is now at the point of crisis. We need a functioning Executive to ensure these issues are addressed and that proper assistance is given in future.  I also hope as a group of councillors we can come together and stand strong on this critical issue,” he added.